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Venezuela CARACAS: Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez is doing well as he receives medical treatment in Cuba, Vice President Nicolas Maduro said on Thursday, despite a two-week absence from public view that has raised fresh doubts about his health.   Chavez, 58, said in a letter to parliament on Tuesday he was returning to Havana for "hyperbaric oxygenation," which is used to treat bone decay caused by radiation therapy. The president has undergone three cancer operations in Cuba since mid-2011.   No images were published of his departure from Caracas, nor his arrival on the Communist-led island, fueling speculation among many Venezuelans on whether the latest twist was normal post-radiation treatment, or a more serious downturn.   "They are carrying out therapies to strengthen his health even more. The president is good, he is very good, and he is going to get much better," Maduro told a meeting with workers that was broadcast live by Venezuelan state TV.   The ...

Brazil cuts return target for pension funds as rates decline  SAO PAULO: The Brazilian government cut the target rate of return for pension funds for the coming six years on Thursday in a move long awaited by money managers following a fall in borrowing costs to record lows.   Industry watchdog National Pension Council, known as CNPC, will lower the so-called actuarial target rate of return for state- and private-sector-run funds by 0.25 percentage point per year between 2013 and 2018. Currently, funds have to post a ...
More than 100 arrested in Sao Paulo crackdown  SAO PAULO: Police said Thursday they arrested 107 people in a month-long anti-crime crackdown in Brazil's most populous city focused on the notorious slum of Paraisopolis.   Sao Paulo state Governor Geraldo Alckmin and his new security chiefs on Thursday toured the slum, where more than 500 state military police were deployed in an attempt to end robberies, drug trafficking and weapons sales.   The high-profile operation was launched in response to a wave of violence linked to an ...
Largest BUENOS AIRES: A trial involving almost 800 cases of human rights abuses during Argentina's 1976-1983 military junta got under way Wednesday, chronicling the use of torture and murder during the dictatorship.   The trial in Buenos Aires, "was, is and will be the largest trial of crimes against humanity" in Argentina, said rights attorney Rodolfo Yanzon.   The trial, on 789 documented abuse cases, is the largest in the South American nation since 2003. It is being held in ...
Brazil expected to keep interest rate flat  BRASILIA: Brazil's central bank was expected to keep its key interest rate unchanged at 7.25 percent later Wednesday, with a faster growth rate on the horizon.   "We expect the central bank to keep its rate at 7.25 percent until mid-2013," said Alex Agostini, chief analyst at the Austin Rating institute.   And some 100 monetary institutions consulted by the Central Bank weekly concurred that the bank's monetary policy committee Copom was likely to keep the rate flat.   The announcement ...
Colombian rebels hope Obama will pardon jailed leader HAVANA: Colombia's FARC guerrilla group renewed an appeal on Tuesday for the release of a rebel leader imprisoned in the United States so he can take part in peace negotiations underway in Havana, Cuba.   US officials had ruled out releasing Simon Trinidad, who is serving a 60-year prison term for the kidnapping of three Americans held hostage in Colombia for more than five years.   But Jesus Santrich, a member of the FARC negotiating team, said the group, ...
Chavez heads to Cuba for medical treatment CARACAS: Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez will travel to Cuba on Tuesday for medical treatment, following a nearly two-week absence from the public eye, months after undergoing cancer surgery on the Communist-run island.   Chavez, 58, staged what appeared to be a remarkable comeback from an undisclosed type of cancer diagnosed in June 2011. In October, he won re-election following a campaign that was much more subdued than his previous bids.   In a letter to Congress, Chavez said he ...


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Foreign Debt $61.805bn
Per Cap Income $1,386
GDP Growth 4.14%
Average CPI 8.6%
Trade Balance $-2.807 bln
Exports $1.911 bln
Imports $4.718 bln
WeeklyOctober 20, 2014
Reserves $13.436 bln